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They say change is the only constant in life. Well, the same is true of your vehicle’s tires. Though it would be nice to only purchase one set of tires during your vehicle’s lifespan, that’s just not how it works. Depending on your driving habits and the type of tires you have, you may need to replace your tires once every three to five years. Here are some common signs that it’s time for new tires.

Blisters and Bulges

The membranes of old tires tend to grow weak over time, making it difficult for them to maintain their shape. One manifestation of this weakness is a bulge or blister. If one section of your tire is jutting out, it’s only a matter of time before there’s a dangerous blowout.

Vibrations while Driving

If you don’t see a bulge in your tire, you will definitely feel it. A well-maintained tire should provide a totally smooth ride. An old tire, on the other hand, will cause uncomfortable vibrations. If your vehicle vibrates whenever you drive, you may need new tires.

Cracks in the Sidewall

Again, old rubber tires become weaker over time—in some cases, this weakness may manifest itself in the form of cracks. As you might expect, the presence of cracks indicates either that there’s a leak in your tire or that there will be soon. Unfortunately, tire repair probably isn’t enough to address the danger posed by tire cracks.

Visible Tread Wear Indicator Bar

You shouldn’t drive with tire tread that is less than 1/16”—approximately the distance from the top of Lincoln’s head to the edge of a penny. If you’d rather not measure your tread with a penny, you can look for the tread wear indicator bar, which is specifically designed to alert the driver to the need for new tires. When in doubt, simply ask a Santa Clara tire expert to help you decide when to get new tires.

Changing out tires